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Teaching Tools 3 - Cognitive Behavioural Approach for Secondary Staff and Students 3

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Teaching Tools 3 - Cognitive Behavioural Approach for Secondary Staff and Students 3

Tina Rae

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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a specific, goal-orientated therapy which often results in positive change within a short period of time, unlike traditional psychotherapy which can take many years to produce positive results. CBT emphasises the role that thoughts play in regard to both emotions and behaviours. It advocates that changing thought processes can have a significant effect upon altering behaviours. CBT offers individuals a way of talking about themselves, their world and other people and about how what they do affects their thoughts and feelings. Unlike many other ‘talking treatments’ CBT focuses upon the here and now and ways to improve the individual’s state of mind in the present time as opposed to focusing on causes of distress of past symptoms. This programme for young people introduces and teaches the key elements and skills of a Cognitive Behavioural Approach. Participants are taught that by changing thought processes they can have a significant effect in altering behaviours. Change Your Mind – Skills-based Learning There is a wealth of recent research to show that CBT is both a promising and an effective intervention for treating children’s psychological difficulties and problems. It also involves problem-solving skills training and social skills work. Given the increasing awareness and prevalence of mental health problems amongst young people, this programme aims to articulate these concerns whilst also providing 12 sessions of skill-based learning. The sessions introduce key elements and techniques of the CBT approach and encourage young people to reconsider their negative assumptions and learn how to change their self-perceptions in order to improve their mental and emotional state. The programme is not intended to be delivered as individual ‘therapy’ per se, but rather as a small group or whole class intervention providing facilitators with a series of tried and tested resources for use with young people. The idea is not to target only those regarded as exhibiting behavioural problems, low self-esteem and anxiety but to include all young people in order to prevent escalation of any difficulties and to provide them with a range of CBT problem-solving strategies and techniques. The programme is both educational and therapeutic in design but is not, in any sense, a substitute for individual interventions delivered by appropriate clinicians. However, the resources can and do provide useful tools for the clinician engaged in such individual interventions and the Learning Mentor, SENCO or Inclusion Manager wishing to develop a programme of support for an individual student.

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